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Tuesday, December 2, 2014

South Africa near tipping point

Cape Times letter from me, yesterday, Monday 1st December 2014: They called it "Country less than three years away from tipping point as pleas fall on deaf ears."

Dear Editor

​Minister ​of Public Enterprises ​Lynne Brown says that we will have load shedding because the existing power station build is ​four​years behind schedule.

The Integrated Resource Plan says South Africa will be short of electricity until 2029. The government believes that less electricity is required than originally forecast because demand is falling. But demand is falling because people are leaving and setting up businesses elsewhere where electricity is more reliable and cheaper.​

​The government believes that the solution is to build another coal power station, to build another ​five​ Koeberg power stations, and to "frack" the Karoo. But ​all three of these solutions are at least 10 years away and if the existing two power stations are ​four​ years behind schedule​,​ and an equivalent amount of existing power stations to Medupi and Kusile reach "end of life" in the next 10 years, then who knows when they will be ready and if they'll actually help the South African economy and its people​?​

​In​ the meantime, because Medupi and Kusile are late, our existing power stations, cabling infrastructure, transformers aren't being ​sufficiently ​maintained and are falling apart.​ ​South Africa is in a crisis of epic proportions.

But the biggest crisis isn't the electricity crisis or the Eskom crisis.​ ​The biggest crisis is that government​ -​ ANC and DA ​- isn't listening to the people, ​but ​is​ centralising decision​-​making at such an alarming rate that soon ​officials won't even hear their people.

I've been trying for a long time to get the government to see that actually they won't lose any revenue by allowing Embedded (homeowner) Generation, but they just won't listen, and so month by month South Africa has less electricity and more unemployment. I've had meetings with the DA, ACDP, IFP and ANC, all the way up to advisors who advise the cabinet.

But we are getting to a point where everyone will be able to make their own electricity economically without Eskom​,​ and then there will be a ​tipping ​point. I believe this is less than ​three years away.

But it will be a huge pity, because people will make their own electricity and the excess which could have been sold to the grid will be wasted, and this could completely change South Africa.

​Yours faithfully,
David Lipschitz

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